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Art & Life with Mylissa Fitzsimmons

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mylissa Fitzsimmons.

Mylissa, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I grew up in Moab, Utah and wanted to be an Astronaut when I was younger. My love for movies really came through my Grandfather. Summers I would stay with him and we would always walk to the corner video rental place or go to the dollar movie theater. We’d pretty much watch anything. Somewhere around 6th grade I started thinking I wanted to be an actress. Acting was the only thing I thought women could do in movies. It never even crossed my mind until way into my early 20’s that directing was something women could do as I had never heard of any female directors.

Even though in High School I started making super 8 films, I never took it seriously. I was more into photography and skateboarding. Lucky for me photography was what ultimately introduced me to filmmaking. I transitioned from being a tour photographer to documentary filmmaking after I made a move from Seattle in the early 90’s to Los Angeles. After some detours that felt like I was just working around the film business, I worked as a freelance photographer, documentary filmmaker, I worked at a movie theater, at Blockbuster, a production company, an animation studio, and owned an art gallery. I decided about 6 years ago to stop dipping my toe in and just jump in. I made the transition from doc films to narrative films and here I am.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I’ve always been more interested in films that make me feel emotionally drained with stories about flawed people. But I also enjoy making genre films. Horror films and coming of age films will always have a soft spot for me. So, I guess someday I hope to make a film about the horrors of coming of age that will emotionally drain audiences but leave them feeling ok about being flawed humans.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
Have patience. Money is hard, no one wants to talk about it, give it to you, lend it to you or share it. So that means you have to be patient and get creative. I write my own films, not because I wanted to but because I knew if I could control the script, I could control the budget. I know I’m making things I can get made for less. Sometimes that means compromise but it also means I’m not wasting money or my time and I’m still creating things. If you find yourself still not being able to make films, you should still be writing them, working with friends on their films and still learning how to make them. immerse yourself to the point you can’t wait any longer and then get creative and figure out how to make it. Being part of a group of supportive people really helps also. Being able to reach out for help, crew, advice, resources, to get your project made. I’m part of The Los Angeles Women’s Film Collective and The Alliance of Women Directors and both groups have been a necessary in getting me through challenges and getting films made. It sucks, I’m terrible at giving advice.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Most of my short films can be screened on my website www.mylissafitzsimmons.com My most current film, Who Decides was the 2017 Sun Valley Film Festival Short Film Lab winner and is just ending its festival run. It can be viewed on Vimeo. https://vimeo.com/299702713.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mylissa Fitzsimmons

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